Newsletter August 2021

Friends of Maara Roa (FMR): 21 years bringing biodiversity back to the Cannons Creek catchment
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August 2021 newsletter: Planting progress paused

  • Planting progress paused
  • AGM report: inspiring presentation
  • Look at our new website
  • Annual subscriptions now due

Planting progress paused

News of the Level 4 lockdown has put a pause on FMR activities, both at the nursery and up the hill, and activity is unlikely to be permitted even at Level 3; we will email everyone as soon as it is possible to go back to work. We are fortunate that, with a run of ideal weather, we have been able to place at least half of the plants taken up to the site (by GWRC ranger Jeremy Paterson misnamed as Julian in the last newsletter).  The frequent rainfall is also good news for plants up the hill and in the nursery.   

Fingers crossed we will still be able to take advantage of offers for help with planting from the Praxis youth leadership development group, and Outward Bound working with Porirua College, if not on the originally planned date. Your help is always appreciated. 

AGM report

Once again, our AGM combined a chance to update on the year’s activities with a thought-provoking presentation – and time for informal conversation over supper.      

All members of the past committee volunteered to stand again and will continue in their previous roles: Chairman, Sef Truyens; Secretary, Janet Tyson; Treasurer, Keith Nicoll; Committee: Mel Tyson, Paul Guiniven and Brenda Johnston.  Either Wayne Boness or Jeremy Paterson from GWRC also attend committee meetings.

There is space for two more people on the committee, or, as Sef Truyens said, anyone is welcome to come along to a meeting to discuss an issue. Contact him on 04 234 7747.

Questions raised at the AGM included detail of the proposed changes to the regional park, and the future of the plant nursery.  Jonathan Boyes suggested the nursery might focus on raising specialist plants rather than those commercial nurseries can produce in bulk.

Being good ancestors

The 2021 AGM was treated to a challenging and inspiring presentation entitled Being good ancestors: Intergenerational partnerships for ecological restoration.  It was given by Dave Sutherland. A science teacher at Porirua College, Dave is also Cross Community Lead for Porirua East Kahui Ako, which encompasses all the schools and kindergartens in the area.

The logo of Kahui Ako, which encompasses all the schools and kindergartens in the Porirua East area, is inspired by the story of Maara Roa (the long garden). It has the rivers at the top and bottom, houses as well as a garden in the background. The two koru represent travellers passing through the land to Maara Roa.


The Good Ancestor concept, very relevant for an area steeped in history, acknowledges those who have gone before like Te Hine Awhinanui – the lady of hospitality – who developed the long garden (Maara Roa) as a place for rest and healing.  It also considers the impact of present actions on the future, suggesting the need for “seven-generation thinking.” Working with students at Porirua College, Dave has drawn out some deep thoughts about sustaining their long-term future – which he said few are confident about.

Brandon Intermediate School teacher Juliana Hutchinson, who unfortunately was not able to attend the AGM, provided notes and pictures of the work being done by her students. Their activities suggest the local environment is in good and thoughtful hands of the next generations.  A selection from the presentations is now on the website. Extracts from Being a Good Ancestor

web site logo

New website links to the old

As some readers have noticed, the website was offline for some time earlier this year, due to a number of factors.  We are sad to note that Susan Wilson, who established the site and built it up as an invaluable archive of FMR activities, died in January this year.

With help from GWRC we have commissioned David Mills to reinstate the old site and build a new one which is now accessible as  The new site allows regular updates so can be used to advise upcoming events. It also links to the old site by going to  David Mills demonstrated the new site, which includes an easily browsable photo gallery, after the formal business of the AGM was ended. Take a look – and give us your feedback using the form provided.

Subscriptions now due

Annual subscriptions are now due and can be paid directly to our Westpac Bank Porirua account which is 03 0547 0381329 00.  Subscriptions are still $20 per person or $30 a couple.  Please give your surname as a reference for payments made by direct debit.

Working bees are every fine Saturday; meet at 9.30 am at the Cannons Creek entrance to Belmont Regional Park.  The nursery group meets every Thursday from 10 am to noon, in the grounds of Aotea College in Okowai Road.  Enquiries:

The Friends of Maara Roa (Inc) is supported by Greater Wellington Regional Council. We work to the 20-year Belmont Regional Park Cannons Creek Forest Restoration Plan. Our next committee meeting will be on Tuesday 7 September. Contact Sef  or 04 234 7747 if you would like to come along.